News

US Says Iranian Nuclear Program Requires Significant International Response

Senior U.S. diplomat Nicholas Burns said Thursday Iran's non-compliance with calls that it cease uranium enrichment will require a significant international response including possible sanctions. The Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs met with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammed Khan, who said his government opposes any use of force in the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

Undersecretary Burns says Iran has crossed all international redlines with regard to its nuclear program, and that it is time for the international community to deliver a strong rebuke to Tehran including possible sanctions in the U.N. Security Council.

Burns met reporters here with his Pakistani counterpart on the eve of the delivery to the Security Council of a report by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei on Iranian compliance with the March 29 council statement, which called on Tehran to end enrichment and return to nuclear negotiations.

Burns, the third-ranking State Department official, said it is clear the ElBaradei report will be strongly negative about Iranian compliance, and that it will now be incumbent on the Security Council to consider punitive action.

"There is no question in my mind that were going to have to see a significant international response, and that will be one of rebuke of the government of Iran for its actions," said Nicholas Burns. "And as I said last week, and as Secretary [of State] Rice has said during this week when she's been traveling in the Middle East and Europe, a great variety of countries are going to have to consult about whether or not sanctions is the right way forward. The United States believes it is. There has to be a significant international diplomatic response to show the Iranian government that this is not a cost-free exercise."

Though U.S. officials have said they are pursuing a diplomatic course to deal with the Iranian nuclear program, which they say has a covert weapons component, they have also said the Bush administration retains all options, implicitly including military ones.

Appearing alongside Undersecretary Burns, the Pakistani Foreign Secretary said his government shares concern about the Iranian nuclear program but wants to see no resort to military action.

"We have also concerns regarding the gravity of the situation relating to the nuclear issue concerning Iran," said Riaz Mohammed Khan. "We made it very clear that we are opposed to any use of force in the area to resolve this issue. There is no military option, and we have emphasized that we look to the success of diplomatic efforts and that there would be a diplomatic solution to this issue."

Undersecretary Burns said the Bush administration is focused on the diplomatic track and that he is gratified by the number of countries who have come forward to express concerns about Iranian intentions.

He said international concern has grown in light of what he termed extraordinary statements from Iran in recent days, including an assertion by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Iran is willing to share nuclear technology with Sudan, a country Burns termed highly irresponsible.

Burns said in the entire world, only Syria, Venezuela and Belarus appear to support the notion that Iran should be allowed to have a nuclear weapons capability.

The Undersecretary will join senior diplomats of the five permanent Security Council member states and Germany in Paris next Tuesday to discuss possible next steps in the process following the ElBaradei report.

Officials here say there could be a ministerial-level meeting of the same countries at the U.N. in New York, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the following week to discuss a course of action for the Security Council.

Burns and Foreign Secretary Khan spoke as they neared the end of two days of talks in the first session of the U.S-Pakistan strategic dialogue, agreed upon during President Bush's visit to Islamabad last month.

They said they agreed to proceed with a planned sale of U.S. F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, but Khan said the purchase would be greatly scaled down because of cost factors arising from Pakistan's devastating earthquake last October.

Pakistan had originally been expected to buy about 25 advanced-model F-16's. Khan said the revised package would involve a mix of used and new aircraft.

Burns said the administration would begin consultations with Congress on the sale shortly.

The talks here also covered Kashmir, with Burns reiterating the U.S. intention help Pakistan and India resolve the territorial dispute, but not in a mediating role.

He said terrorism and violence in Afghanistan were covered as well, and that the United States wants to help Pakistan uplift the economy of tribal areas along the Afghan border, from which Taleban and al Qaeda elements have operated.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs